When you first hear of mindfulness and its purported benefits, you may be eager to pursue that curiosity and find out more. Whether you read an article from Jon Kabat-Zinn, heard a podcast with Jack Kornfield, or studied the teachings of the Buddha himself, it all starts with a spark of inspiration.
But the great irony of the mindfulness movement is that with so many teachings and resources, you might not know where to begin! The teachings designed to clear your mind and bring you into the present moment may overwhelm and confuse you at first.
That’s why we suggest using quotes and affirmations as a perfect starting point for your journey into the world of mindfulness meditation and philosophy. Inspirational quotes are concise, effective, and easy to incorporate into everyday life. Let’s explore some of the greatest quotes to explore key concepts and inspire you to learn more.
1. “If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind.”
This quote, inspired by stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, is a powerful way to frame your thinking and approach to daily life. A mindfulness practice begins with the ability to recognize the aspects of life that are beyond your control. This allows you to let go and instead focus on what you can do in this moment.
When you gain comfort with the concept of letting go and putting your mental energy toward productive ends, you’ll find incredible benefits for your mental health and personal achievement.
The stoics were definitely onto something with this quote, and others like it: simply focus on what you can control. It’s one of the more difficult ideas to master, but this quote provides a launchpad for further discovery and creates the conditions required for lasting inner peace.
2. “Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life.”
Siddhartha Guatama, the prince who became the Buddha, was known for his otherworldly ability to bring the wisdom of mindfulness to the masses. This simple quote reminds us to always be present in the moment, avoiding the traps of dwelling on the past or fixating on the future.
What better place to start your mindfulness journey than with a quote from the Buddha himself? His philosophical framework has lasted for thousands of years and continues to enlighten people worldwide. Use this affirmation wisely, and you always have the upper hand over your emotions.
You don’t need to be a Buddhist monk to understand the power behind this quote and use it to make healthier choices for yourself and the world around you. No matter what life throws at you, you always have the power to focus on the present moment at hand and make the most of any situation.
3. “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.”
Eckhart Tolle is a modern mindfulness master with bestsellers like The Power of Now and A New Earth. His teachings resonate with millions for a good reason, emphasizing the power of acceptance balanced with free will and self-knowledge.
With this quote in mind, you can approach life’s challenges with a sense of personal accountability, letting you “zoom out” and put things into perspective. While you might not have chosen every aspect of your life so far, you can accept and own your circumstances. This small tweak in your point of view allows you to embrace the joy of just being while exercising your will and potential.
Whether waiting in a long line or dealing with real hardship, Tolle’s wisdom rings true and offers a healthy sense of detachment from which to make better decisions at every turn.
4. “Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.”
The guru Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati was a beloved philosopher and human rights advocate who deeply understood the transformative potential of mindfulness meditation. She blended the teachings of many world religions with simple and concise quotes that work well as affirmations and mantras.
This quote reminds us that the mind has the tendency to wander and inflate the severity of certain emotions if we’re not careful. Instead of being guided by emotions like fear, regret, or anxiety, you can always quiet the mind and tap into the inner self — which always has the right answers guiding you forward.
With this quote, you can clear away the mental cobwebs and set your emotions aside, even when enduring the most difficult parts of life. It’s a key teaching that shines light on the difference between a fleeting thought and our universal consciousness.
5. “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
This quote from Eckhart Tolle puts the truth right in front of you: the present moment is all there is, all there ever was, and all there will ever be. Rather than being bogged down by the events of the past or living in fear of what the future brings, you always have the opportunity to connect with the present and melt away the anxieties of “today’s rush.”
You can employ this quote when you find yourself experiencing repetitive thoughts, whether related to past events or future uncertainty. You’ll soon learn that past and present really have no bearing on how we feel in the present or how we should act.
This isn’t to discard the importance of reflection or planning for the future, but rather that these are tools to be used cautiously and intentionally. When you make presence the main focus of your life, you’ll experience each moment more fully. This allows you to make better choices that align with your truest identity and direct your life the way you want it to go.
6. “The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom.”
American psychologist and author Tara Brach is known for combining modern science with the insights of Buddhist teachings and practical meditation methods. This quote reminds us that acceptance isn’t just a nice idea, but the key to our freedom.
How might this quote be used in daily life? Just think of the last time you felt stressed or angry about an obstacle or inconvenience you faced. Maybe your flight was delayed, or you had a conflict with your partner. Rather than holding onto the negative emotions that come with that territory, you can view acceptance as your ticket to psychological freedom and inner peace.
From this standpoint, you can free yourself of any lingering negativity and reorient yourself to take action that remedies the situation or at least minimizes the damage. Once you realize the practical utility of acceptance and see it as empowering, you can go through life with more grace, patience, and competence.
7. “To meditate with mindful breathing is to bring body and mind back to the present moment so that you do not miss your appointment with life.”
Attributed to the Vietnamese teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh, this quote is an ode to the power of meditation and mindful breathing in everyday life. If you haven’t yet attempted meditation or you’re struggling to adopt a daily meditation practice, Hanh reminds you — it’s one of the healthiest and most impactful things you can do.
While it might seem counterintuitive, doing “nothing” for a set period of time each day can transform how we think and engage with all aspects of life. Rather than forcing ourselves to constantly maximize productivity and sacrifice our inner peace, meditation creates space for better thinking and ends up being more valuable than you might imagine.
Thankfully, the practice of mindfulness requires nothing more than a quiet space and a willingness to step away from the pressure for just a few minutes. If you can incorporate meditation daily, you’ll reap the benefits of mindfulness and ultimately perform better in the long term.
8. “The best way to capture moments is to pay attention.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn pioneered mindfulness-based stress reduction in the 1970s, bridging the gap between ancient meditation teachings and cutting-edge research. At the core of MSBR is an eight-week program that uses intensive training to help people improve their mental health and overcome stress with repeatable practices.
MBSR was a game changer when first introduced, but the discoveries have since become mainstream, taking on many different formats and use cases. Kabat-Zinn is more than a researcher — he’s also a speaker, author, and quotable mindfulness advocate.
This quote from Kabat-Zinn speaks to the idea that life is best lived when we’re fully in the present moment. It’s easy to let life’s biggest moments pass you by when you’re disconnected or cluttered with unneeded thoughts. Let the science behind MBSR show you that this approach can contribute to your long-term health and well-being.
9. “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Of all the famous Marcus Aurelius quotes, this is one of the most potent summaries of his stoic philosophy. Aurelius didn’t preach passivity or running from your problems. Instead, he reaffirmed the power we have over our own minds and used this realization to take control and manifest our desired life.
In his Meditations, Aurelius discusses the pressures of being the Roman Emperor. He finds himself split between upholding the legacy of his ancestors while also forging a path for the future of his people. This pressure created diamonds in his writings, which live on to this day.
Equipped with the wisdom of Aurelius in this quote, you can navigate life’s toughest gauntlets and still be the master of your own mind.
10. “Training your mind to be in the present moment is the #1 key to making healthier choices.”
Mindfulness is largely a psychological practice, but author Susan Albers shows us that it’s the foundation of health and wellness more broadly. Her quote speaks to the idea that when we’re present, it’s far easier to make healthier decisions since we aren’t dealing with racing thoughts or negative emotions clouding our judgment.
You can probably relate, whether you’ve dealt with junk food cravings or the urge to scroll on social media instead of doing healthy habits. If you’re looking to jumpstart your health journey, this quote is a profound way to reframe your view of wellness. By prioritizing mindfulness, you’ll realize that health is within reach when you have clarity of mind.
11. “Everything is created twice. First in the mind and then in reality.”
The ideas of visualization and manifestation have been around for thousands of years, but authors like Robin Sharma have brought them back to the modern world. It’s a simple concept that might seem far-fetched until you recognize the universal truth behind this quote.
Whether you’re getting in shape, starting a business, or just cooking a meal at home, everything must begin as a vision in the mind. Mindfulness amplifies our abilities to visualize a desired result and clears away the clutter to make room for the right action in that direction.
The next time you set goals for yourself and struggle to follow through, remember the power of vision and visualization.
12. “The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, open to all possibilities.”
The Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki was part of the movement that brought Buddhism to the United States, paving the way for teachers and students of today. His most famous work was Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, which introduced millions of Westerners to simplified tenets of Zen Buddhist theory.
At the core of Suzuki’s philosophy, he emphasizes the idea of letting go, minimizing the ego, and allowing for free thought to flow. From learning a new language to learning a new recipe or even changing career paths, you’ll find timeless wisdom in Suzuki’s incredible quote about the mind of the beginner.
13. “Several times a day, stop and just listen.”
With a focus on the practical applications of mindfulness, author and teacher Jan Chozen Bays has covered topics like mindful eating and overcoming trauma. With this quote, we get a wonderful reminder that we sometimes need to slow things down and be present with our surroundings to get the most out of life.
Maybe you struggle with multi-tasking or find yourself distracted by little things that get under your skin during the workday. This quote from Bays tells us to take a step back, take some deep breaths, and check in with our inner selves to see what’s really going on beneath the surface. To do this, we must clear the mind and listen.
The bottom line
Practicing mindfulness is a challenge we all face daily, so why not keep your favorite mindfulness quotes in your back pocket? These affirmations can help us stay a bit more grounded, present, and clear-headed as we navigate our lives.
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